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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > February 2016 > Letters


Star Letter


I just read the letter from Pilar who is struggling to cope with the grief of losing her partner (No Problem, January). My wife died just over two years ago. I got a lot of emotional support from an organisation called WAY – Widowed And Young – it is for anyone (regardless of gender or sexuality) who has lost a partner (whether married or not) when they were aged under 50. They have an online forum and members organise events (meals out, coffee, etc) which give you the chance to meet up with other people who just “get it” as they are also going through the pain of losing their partner. I have met other young queer widows through WAY (both online and in real life), which has helped as I felt alone with my situation. I read a lot of books on grief – the most helpful for me was a book called Second Firsts, which helps you to rebuild your life after loss. Other things that helped me were to get creative (I wrote and painted) and to do exercise when you feel up to it. I swam, ran and cycled – which all helped to heal my body from the trauma that grief puts you through. I did find a brilliant bereavement counsellor who helped guide me through the process of coming to terms with the death and starting to rebuild my life. Sometimes it helps to speak to someone who understands the grieving process. I am starting to get to a point where I can look at photos of my wife with joy at the happy memories we shared rather than sadness – it takes time and support but you can survive this.

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In the new issue Skin from Skunk Anansie talks to us about being a successful black gay rocker. She's had the courage to play with gender, to strut, preen and mean it right from the beginning and she's made it work for her. Just wait until you see the stunning photo-shoot that acompanies the interview. Oh, and please welcome our new columnist Jack Monroe who, from this issue, will be writing exclusively for DIVA about their parenting experiences. February is, of course, LGBT history month and our time-sleuths have brought the past to light in features that examine the importance of historical fiction for lady-lovers. Also in this issue: Kate Bornstein – who knows a thing or two about breaking gender rules. Author Chinelo Okparanta. Singer Aneesa Chaudhry. Club promoter and DJ Claud Cunningham. Oscar-nominated Emma Donoghue, author of Room, now on general release as a film. With a nod to Valentine’s Day, we asked you to tell us why you love your partner. Rosie Wilby explains why she still treasures her exes. The hidden presence of bi women in LGBT history. Ursula Martinez. Izzy Rabey AKA Madame Dollar explores issues of identity. Jess T Dugan's explores a gentle kind of masculinity in her photography. Travel to Bournemouth or Niki de Saint Phalle's art garden in Tuscany and check out our top tips for a memorable holiday Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.